Recap 15: No Win November

The Penguins took their show to Boston last night in what was originally being dubbed as a measuring stick game for the Penguins. I’m exhausted and can’t come up with a witty introduction.

With Hornqvist out the Pens lined up with the following

The pace to start this game was neck-breaking. The teams went back and forth with no stoppages in like the first four minutes. It was great hockey, especially for November. Just over the five-minute mark, Kris Letang made a blatant pass into the neutral zone that went straight to Jake DeBrusk. DeBrusk walked into the zone, faked like he was going to go behind the goal and then fired a shot from a bad angle that embarrassed Murray

Rough play all around, Letang with the bad giveaway and Murray with the bad positioning, and DeBrusk with a perfect shot.

Following the goal, the play continued to go at full speed. The Penguins had approximately 17 chances but their old nemesis Halak was once again playing the way he does against the Penguins. Meanwhile, Murray continued looking as shaky as an addict waiting for his next score but was somehow keeping the puck out. Eventually, the Bruins top line would get some extended pressure in the zone, the puck came out to the top of the crease and Brad Marchand batted it out of the air and into the goal for his 9th of the season.

There has been a lot written recently promoting the Pettersson-Schultz pairing, but to me, they have had more mistakes than any other pairing on the team. On this goal, both Shultz and Pettersson are seven feet away from each other in the corner while the best line in the NHL gets into position:

Pettersson, Schultz and Crosby are all looking at intercepting an imaginary pass behind the boards, and Marchand is sitting wide open. It was a broken play, but with proper positioning by Schultz, this goal doesn’t happen.

The Penguins tucked their tails in after Halak made a few more saves and the period would end 2-0.

The second period started with the same pace as the first, except it was only from one team. The Penguins came out firing on cylinders that I don’t think we’ve seen for three years. They just put on wave after wave of pressure against the Bruins and you were getting the feeling that the goals would come. Well they did, in the form of David Pastrnak ripping one by Murray on the Bruins first shot of the period four minutes in

Murray’s positioning was off from the very start, Sullivan trusted him to get his shit together after the first and he didn’t so Sully made the right move and pulled him after this goal. Rough night for Murray, good night for the Murray haters, as his night ends with 3 goals on 11 shots, dropping his season save percentage to .917

Following the goal, most Steelers fans went to FACEBOOK to rip the Penguins with their opinions on hockey while Dominik Kahun was showing Mike Sullivan why he deserves to play every game.

DOMINIK KAHUN (3) Assisted by McCann (2) & Schultz (6) @ 5:35

If you want to know how Halak plays the Pens watch this gif, he almost makes this freaking save. This goal showcases everything we were told we would like about Kahun, he finds a way to get to open areas and he can finish. Great goal by the young forward, and a third line goal is exactly what the team needed.

Following the goal, the Penguins went to yet another level and just dominated the Bruins to the point where Jack Edwards couldn’t even be a homer. Let that sink in. After four minutes of domination, Kris Letang made up for his turnover in the first with a perfuckingect pass through the middle to spring Bjugstad, and the Big Jugs took Halak for a Tug

NICK BJUGSTAD Assisted by Letang (8) & Dumoulin (4) @ 9:56

Gotta love this finish by Bjugstad, but how bout dat pass?

Look at the beginning of the gif, Letang and Bjugstad make eye contact and the play is designed right then and there, that’s one thing. The ability to pull off that pass is something Kris Letang haters will never comprehend.

I feel like I’ve typed this before but following the goal, the Penguins did not let up. They just kept pouring it on. It’s almost like Mike Sullivan’s system didn’t change, he was just finally given 12 men that can let him roll four lines again. After six minutes of pressure, Evgeni Malkin told Letang nice pass watch me and fed a beauty to Bryan Rust, and in Rust we Trust.

BRYAN RUST (2) Assisted by Malkin & Galchenyuk (3) @ 15:59

What a play by Malkin, good God. You want to talk about an elite talent? This is the 101st best player in NHL history streaking down the wing, everyone thinks he is going to carry the puck down the boards and instead he puts on the breaks and spins around at the blueline because he has already noticed Rust breaking in full speed. As he spins he puts this pass from backhand to Rust’s tape. Get the fuck out of here. Go watch it again before proceeding, I’m not kidding. Go watch it again and don’t you dare take for granted Evgeni Malkin.

The Bruins looked to get a break when the Penguins got into penalty trouble late in the period but the penalty killers were doing what they do. As the final penalty expired the puck ended up coming to the man hopping out of the box, John Marino, and he turned on the jets for his first NHL goal.

JOHN MARINO @ 19:57

John Marino is like Olli Maatta with legs. What a delight it has been to watch him so far this season, and what a finish this is. Halak, like a true Bostonian, pitched a bitch fit for not getting his way and the Penguins Twitter PR team did the dirty

The final three seconds would click away and the Pens would take a 4-3 lead into the third following four unanswered goals and a period of absolute domination.

The Penguins kept up their play in the third but Halak’s new diaper must’ve made him a little more mobile as he prevented the Pens from getting the insurance goal. During a section of 4v4 play, the Bruins showed their first signs of life since the first period. They controlled play during the two-minute section, and after Malkin nearly stole a puck for a breakaway the Bruins took advantage. A broken play turned into an open Tory Krug and he just buried a one-timer behind Jarry

Backbreaker for the Pens, but the Bruins have ten wins for a reason, and that reason his they execute when given opportunities. The missed steal by Malkin followed by Rust leaving his position gave the Bruins an open man, and they took exactly what the Penguins gave them.

With the game tied, it was safe to say both teams would’ve been happy with getting a point after such a crazy back and forth game. Bryan Rust had a chance but Halak was back.

Two seconds later Galchenyuk just about did the thing but the net was off the moorings.

It looked like we were heading that way, too, until John Marino made some great moves to get low and the zone and threw a pass across the middle to a stick that wasn’t there. The puck bounced off the wall and sprung Marchand, and he raced down the ice and rang one off the post behind Jarry that would bounce off Jarry’s back and back into the goal.

There is an old cliché in sports about when things are going your way so are the bounces, and I think we saw those words come true in this game. Marchand gets the bounce of a lifetime, but this shot is also really nice, just a laser that beat Jarry and clanged the post.

The Bruins would add an empty netter and that would cap things off.

GAME

THOUGHTS

  • Kris Letang left the game with an injury, and is presumably out with a lower-body injury
  • Dominik Kahun should not be scratched again, which makes Zach Aston-Reese the odd-man out in my book
  • Rough night for Pens goalies, Murray looked off from the beginning in what became his worst performance of the year. Jarry wasn’t much better, the Penguins just carried the play during most of his time in net
  • The top-line got beat. Guentzel and Crosby were both -4, Simon was -3. +/- is what it is, but in this example, it tells the story of the matchups. The third line was a +4, which is a big positive.
  • Some people are pissed, I’m not. Last year in November we were hoping this team would show up to a game. Currently, this team is playing like a contender and we have quickly forgotten about how gloomy we all were after the second game of the season. Losses like this suck, but I will take a loss and the good from this game over the efforts of last season an day of the week

G14 Nov. 2nd Oilers

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G15 Nov. 4th @Bruins

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